an Oh Myyy Property

A woman has revealed how she turned down her dream home because she has suffered with lifelong triskaidekaphobia – an extreme fear or avoidance of the number 13.

Happy to open umbrellas inside, keep a black cat, or smash a mirror without fear, Clare McAfee, 36, of Dublin, Ireland, is only superstitious about anything including a 13, which she says gives her the “heebie jeebies."

A former office manager, she is so spooked by the figure she will not sit on the 13th row of a plane, turns down invitations on the 13th of the month and decided not to live at number 13, despite it being her dream home, saying:

“I have no idea where my fear's come from. It must have been something that was instilled in me as a child, as I've always been this way."

ClarePA Real Life/Collect

She continued:

“The number 13 just makes me uneasy. I would go as far as to say it is a phobia. It feels like encouraging bad luck."
“About two months ago, I found my dream house. It ticked every single box. It was on the sea front with a lovely garden, a great size and in budget."
“But as soon as I found out it was number 13, I couldn't move there. I didn't want to tempt fate."

Clare, who cannot work at the moment as she is recovering from surgery to treat hydrocephalus – a build-up of fluid on the brain, which she was diagnosed with earlier in 2019 – recalls 13 being a problem for her when she was very young.

She said:

“As a little girl, as young as I can remember, I couldn't settle if the TV volume was on 13, feeling compelled to change it to 12 or 14 instead."

And through the years, her superstition only deepened.

Clare recovering from her recent surgeryPA Real Life/Collect

She explained:

“I've never actually had anything bad happen to me related to the number 13, but I try and avoid it wherever I can."
“I wouldn't want to make any plans outside my normal daily routine on day 13 of each month – especially not traveling. No way. If I went to book a flight and there were only seats in the 13th row left, I wouldn't go."
“I also wouldn't want a phone number with 13 in it. I'd definitely change it. Just seeing it written in numerical form freaks me out."

Clare was recently given the table number 13 when she ordered some lunchPA Real Life/Collect

Clare would make some exceptions – for example, if she was invited to an important birthday celebration or a wedding on 13th, she would force herself to go, so as not to offend anyone.

Wherever possible, though, she will turn down events on 13th. Recently, she refused tickets to see Elton John, as the gig was on Friday 13, and chose another date instead.

And, during her recent treatment for her brain condition, she has dreaded the number 13 appearing in her appointments.

Most common superstitions

  • Never placing unworn shoes on the table
  • Ensuring that umbrellas are never opened indoors
  • Throwing spilt salt over the left shoulder
  • Believing that breaking a mirror will lead to seven years of bad luck
  • Not walking under any ladders
  • Placing dreamcatchers in the bedroom
  • Getting in and out of bed on the same side
  • Not having any beds directly facing the door
  • Keeping the toilet seat down whenever it's not in use
  • Arriving home through the same door that you exited the house from

“I would try to avoid medical appointments for 1pm, as that is 13:00 hours on the 24 hour clock," she said.

“For my surgery a few weeks ago, there were 16 beds, and I was terrified they would give me number 13."
“I know it sounds bizarre and superstitious, but when you are having something like surgery, the last thing you want is to feel like you are encouraging bad luck by staying in bed 13 on ward 13."

Most recently, Clare's phobia saw her turn down her dream home after months of hunting, because it was number 13 – despite property company Zoopla saying in a 2017 survey that houses and flats with this door number are typically almost £9,000 ($11,200) cheaper than the average UK property.

Clare added:

“I know I could have changed the house from a number to a name, but I'd have still known it was technically number 13. I kept thinking how post could wind up there addressed to 13 anyway, and seeing that written down against my name would have just given me the heebie jeebies."

While Clare's aversion to 13 is intense she is not alone, with Office of National Statistics (ONS) research finding that between 1995 and 2013, while Fridays were the second most popular day to marry, on Friday 13 the number of weddings dropped by a whopping 49 per cent.

Furthermore, in 2013, the Irish government brought in a new license plate system, partly due to fears that having a 13 on a vehicle number plate would affect sales amongst superstitious buyers.

Clare (L) with her friend CecilyPA Real Life/Collect

While interiors specialists Hillarys have just surveyed 2,600 Brits and found 68 per cent have irrational habits when it comes to their homes – the most common of which include never placing new shoes on the table, not opening umbrellas indoors and throwing spilt salt over the left shoulder – Clare is only superstitious about 13.

Clare – who has paid her deposit on another house, with no connection to the number 13 – laughed:

“I put my shoes on the table just the other day, and wouldn't think twice about opening an umbrella indoors."
“I've broken mirrors before and not cared and even used to have a black cat. There is just something about the number 13."

Clare with her grandad (PA Real Life/Collect)PA Real Life/Collect

She concluded:

“I'm sure there are other people out there like me, who feel freaked out by it, too. It's a superstition that is really hyped up in popular culture."

To read Clare's wellbeing blog, click here

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When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel


Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.


We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.


A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest


Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.


Damn! That's smart. Wow.


Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.


The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.


Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.


I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed


Sleeping Beauty


I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.


Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.


I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.


A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.


This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.


Put This To The Taste


My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.


So what was the candy?


Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."


This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.


The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"


"Does it go on my head?"


"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"


"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"


[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.


Some Foot For Thought.


My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.


That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.


Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.


I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.


This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.


The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.


The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'


I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.


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